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Analyzing Taft’s State of the State

Governor Taft gave his annual State of the State address recently.

Monday, January 29, 2001

Governor Taft gave his annual State of the State address recently. The Governor addresses the joint session of the Ohio General Assembly as well as statewide office holders and his cabinet to outline his goals for the coming year.

Gov. Taft discussed several initiatives regarding education, home heating assistance, prescription drugs, and economic development.

In education, Ohio is under a June 15 deadline to answer the Supreme Court decision that requires improvements to the school funding formula. The governor highlighted the state’s success in addressing school facilities. He proposed implementing the recommendations made by the Student Success Commission and increasing funds for the basic cost per student as well as for transportation, special education, and teacher education.

The House will be taking a close look at the governor’s plan as well as the Joint Committee that reexamined the basic cost of an education in conjunction with the ideas of the members of the House of which 45 of 90 are new. Specifically, we want to take a closer look at how categories such as special education, transportation, and poverty assistance are funded. We also need to examine the issue of the over reliance of poverty taxes.

Gov. Taft’s proposals for economic development in our region makes sense. His idea on using surplus welfare funds for home heating assistance is timely and workable. The prescription drug issue is important to all citizens. The governor’s initiative deserves discussion and may lead to lower drug costs for Ohioans.

On a more difficult note, due to the economic slowdown, many state agencies will have to cut their budgets. This is never easy but it must be done in order to stay within budgetary restraints. I have now had my first hearing as Finance Committee Chairman and look forward to the process.

As always, feel free to share your views with me about these issues.